Giovanni Gerardo's Birth Story

I love Milena's story mainly because her mindset about giving birth is so similar to mine. She's also "weird" like me and wanted to know all the details about child birth. Education = power! Milena had a rapid labor or precipitous labor, which sounds like it would be a good thing to experience, but there are potential difficulties for the mother and baby. Milena has two adorable boys and her own business, Makeup by Milena, which you should check out!

On July 17, 2014 my husband Frank and I learned we were pregnant with our first child. Naturally, my excitement came with feelings of anxiety and fear of losing the life I grew accustomed to living.  See, I am and have always been a girl on the move. I like to be extremely organized and when I'm not, I feel a sense of urgency to do it all at once. I also try to keep a busy calendar so that I'm not home by myself while my husband works. My family doesn't live close by and I feared that I'd be alone when I needed them most. I knew I needed to accept the fact that I would have to embrace a new reality so I did what I know to do best: educate. I am a teacher and  never get tired of learning something new, so I turned to a doula who teaches a 6 week birthing program based on the Bradley Method of childbirth. A friend of mine took the course a year prior to me and recommended it. 

In January of 2015 my husband and I began attending classes. It was a small intimate setting with only 4 other couples at the instructor's house on Tuesday nights. Each week we discussed a new topic such as the stages of birth and c-sections. We even watched some educational videos and practiced using a birthing ball to ease pain during labor. 

This doula has four children of her own and was keen on sharing every detail of her childbirths with us. While that might seem "weird" to some I found it comforting in knowing that an unmedicated childbirth is not as crazy as our modern day society thinks. In a way I wanted to pay homage to the women who came before me. My mother had four children the "natural" way as well as both of my grandmothers. I knew it could be done and wanted to prove to myself that I could do it because in my heart I felt it was the best way I could welcome a new baby into this world. My only doubt was that I wouldn't be able to handle the pain, but my husband was confident that he would be able to encourage me step by step to achieve our goal.

I didn't create a step by step birth plan. I figured there were too many variables that could change it and I didn't want to be disappointed if I had to deviate from the plan. I just knew a few things for certain: 1. Labor at home for as long as possible 2. No induction 3. No epidural 4. No c-section.

Finally on March 26, 2015 my due date came and went but I was already 3-4cm dilated. I attended a memorial mass on the night of March 28 for my deceased mother in law and and went out with family for a bite to eat when the mass ended. I hadn't been feeling too well the entire day and wasn't sure if I would even be able to go to church but I pushed myself anyway. I remember not being able to stand or kneel during the mass. 

The next morning I remember talking on the phone with a relative who wanted to see how I was doing. I was laying in bed sleeping in. Finally at 9:45am I felt the urge to pee and asked my husband to help me get up from bed. The second I sat up my water broke with a huge gush. I immediately told my best friend who delivers babies and she assured me it was the real thing and to call my Obgyn. I wasn't in any pain (yet!). When I was on the phone with my doctor he said, "Are you sure you're in labor? You sound fine!" I said I must be because my water broke!

In an effort to labor at home for as long as possible I decided to take a shower... bad idea! I could feel the contractions getting worse and worse. I could barely dry my hair and dress myself when I got out. When I finally made it downstairs to the front door I was dripping sweat and yelling at my husband to hurry up. (What was the point of the shower..?!). Frank was still wrestling with the enormous birthing ball while I was sitting in the car screaming from pain. We finally sped over to the hospital and when I arrived I skipped triage and went straight to the delivery room. 

I was immediately examined and was 9cm! The baby was on his way and it was happening fast. My Obgyn wasn't there yet so I had a room full of residents. The doctor came just as I started to push. A few good ones and the baby was here! Giovanni Gerardo was born at 12:05pm on March 29, 2015- the natural way, happy and healthy! I felt like a champ for all the praise I received from everyone in the room who couldn't believe I delivered so fast and with no medical intervention.  It was an amazing feeling. But, nothing in the world prepared me for the postpartum pain my body would endure for the following 6 weeks. 

After Giovanni's birth I learned I was part of a unique group of American women who have precipitous labors which basically means we can deliver a baby under 3 or so hours. This affects a very small percentage of women and so there is not much talk about it. My birthing class had never mentioned either and there is no way of knowing if you're predisposed. I literally could've had the baby in the car! This really scared me when I found out I was pregnant with my second child. More to come on that at a later date! 

Baby snuggles and belly laughs,
Milena Rizzuto mother of Giovanni Gerardo